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Saturday, July 03, 2004

ON TREASON 

AND THE ODIOUS PRACTICE OF SHOUTING "TRAITOR" AT PEOPLE WHO DISAGREE WITH YOU

I haven't explicitly been called a traitor for a few months, but the college newspaper that publishes some of my contributions got some hate mail recently that mentioned me by name and came pretty close to impugning my patriotism. The missive did remind me, however, that I have been called a traitor. I have been told to leave the country because I see flaws in the two-party system. I have been accused of supporting terroroism and hating America because of my editorials critical of the Bush Administration and its stupid war. One correspondent threatened to report me to the FBI for my opinion pieces. (I never heard from them. Very disappointing. Bring them on, I say.)

I am not upset by it because the people who make such friviolous and reckless statements are obviously unbalanced, and the fact that they feel they have to resort to such vile tactics reveals that they probably don't have much to back up their beliefs. They are right because they are right. And anyone who tries to challenge their beliefs with a little common sense or a few facts ... well, only a damned TRAITOR would even dare to ask questions and try to point out the inconsistencies, the manipulations and the lies of the Bush Administration.

Treason is a serious crime. Which makes it a serious charge. It is not an accusation that should be hurled without careful consideration. Because if the charge isn't true, then the accuser is taking a chance on wrongfully ruining the reputation of an innocent person. To use it as a rhetorical tactic against someone whose beliefs you don't like is unforgiveable.

If I am a traitor, then I should be in jail. I should be incarcerated and awaiting trial. If I am a traitor, then it is a serious breach on the part of law enforcement authorities to let me run around loose, unpunished, unrepentant, planning more treason.

But if I'm not a traitor, then it is surely unacceptable and even despicable for anyone, no matter how passionately they support the war and the president, to accuse me of treason.

It is almost as despicable to suggest that dissenters hate America or that they hate the troops or that they support the terrorists or that they love Saddam Hussein. These are all lame and emotionally charged tactics to intimidate critics into silence and to deflect the argument away from any unpleasant but legitimate criticism of the effectivenes of the so-called "War on Terror."

Dear Bush supporters: If you have any valid facts and arguments, bring them on. But leave your beastly and divisive accusations at home.

I'm saying this for your own good. Because you look really stupid when you say those things. Especially now that more and more Americans are finding out that Bush's critics had valid concerns from the start.

Have a great Independence Day! And remember: there's more to being an American than waving the flag and shouting "Traitor" two or three times a day.

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